Furnace Safety Tips for Winter

Winter has officially arrived in the U.S., leaving you no choice but to run the heater at maximum power to keep your home comfortable. Are you sure your furnace, space heater, fireplace and other heating appliances are safe? While crucial for staying warm, heating equipment can be risky if not used and maintained properly. Check out some vital heating system safety tips to ensure a comfortable and stress-free winter.

Identifying the Risks

Because homes rely heavily on heating systems when it’s cold, home fires and heating-related accidents spike this time of year. Several typical risks include:

Candles and holiday decorations: Winter celebrations typically include decorative lights and candles. Even though these items make the long winter nights more cozy, they can become fire hazards if left unattended or placed near flammable materials.

Generators: Operating a generator during a power outage is a helpful backup plan. But, incorrect use can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks and fires. Ensure these devices are positioned outside and far from windows or doors.

Heating appliances: Space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces contribute significantly to home fires during the winter. While engineered to function safely, these devices can become risky if they are outdated, malfunctioning or misused.

Lack of ventilation: Insufficient ventilation can result in dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, especially from natural gas, propane or oil heaters.

Old wiring: Older homes with outdated electrical systems may struggle with the demands of contemporary heating appliances. When pushed beyond their limits, the wiring may overheat, increasing the likelihood of electrical fires.

Wrong use of heating devices: Using equipment for unintended purposes, like firing up the oven to heat your home, or placing wet socks over a space heater, can be dangerous.

General Guidelines

Use these safety recommendations in the winter and throughout the year to keep your home and family safe:

Gas leaks: If you detect a strange rotten egg smell, it could be a gas leak. For your protection, act immediately—open windows and doors to air out the building, evacuate the area and get in touch with your local gas company and fire department.

Burnable items: Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating sources like furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.

Children’s safety: Teach your children about the hazards of matches, candles and heating devices. After that, establish a “kid-free zone” close to open flames and heaters to avoid accidents. 

Electrical safety: Do not run heating equipment using extension cords or power strips. Also, plug only one high-power-draw device into an electrical outlet at a time. These guidelines help stop electrical overloads, which can cause overheating and fires.

Candle safety: Carefully supervise lit candles and blow them out before walking out of the room or going to sleep.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Use these products inside your home, especially right next to sleeping areas and test them every month.

Specific Heating Equipment Tips

Here are some helpful heating system safety tricks to remember this winter:

Professional HVAC service: Because a poor setup can increase the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrical shock, you should always leave furnace installation to a professional. You’ll appreciate peace of mind for many years, knowing your equipment is working the way it is supposed to.

Routine maintenance: Yearly inspections of your heating equipment and chimneys by well-qualified professionals can discover hidden problems that might not be visible to the untrained eye. These inspections can find worn-out parts, ventilation problems and potential gas leaks. Routine maintenance also ensures optimum efficiency and lengthens your system’s life span.

Space heaters: Do not allow space heaters to run unattended or while you’re asleep. Place these devices on a stable, non-flammable surface and keep anything that could catch fire away from the front, back and sides of the heater.

Fireplaces: Place a metal screen in front of the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out and igniting nearby objects. Extinguish the flames before leaving home or nodding off to sleep. Once it has completely cooled, gather the ashes in a metal container and store them outside a safe distance from your premises.

Partner with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Heating Service in the U.S.

As the winter months intensify, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is ready to preserve your comfort and protection. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, long-lasting answers for all your heating needs, with services backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not thrilled with our work, you can depend on us to make it right. In addition to our technical expertise, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is significantly involved in the local communities we serve and remain dedicated to innovation and customer engagement. For assistance staying warm this winter, call 866-397-3787 today to arrange an appointment with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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